Last Week of NaNoWriMo

Y’all.

It’s the last week of NaNoWriMo and I’ve decided that I’m going to finish on Wednesday. I’m going to enjoy this long Thanksgiving weekend. Because, damn it, I’ve earned it.

On Saturday, I was almost in tears because I was not sure how I was still going to win this thing.

See, it was going fine the first two weeks. I’d missed three days because: life, but I quickly got back on track. I was even writing extra words each day so I could take Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving off. All was right with the world.

Then the third week dawned. Oh Jesus.

Hubby brought home the junkyard dog of colds. Mean, vicious little bugger. Now, my husband barely ever gets sick. If he does, it’s usually something that slows him down for about 24hrs and after that he’s back to normal. This time? He spent two days shivering in the bed. He was better by the third day, but by then the kids and I caught it.

The good news is that it mostly passed by Sunday. The bad news is I didn’t write at all that week. All those extra words didn’t save me. I almost 20 000 words away. And Thanksgiving week was coming up. I hadn’t shopped for Thanksgiving dinner, planned the menu, washed our plague clothes, nothing.

I rationalized. I had a rough month and it was okay if I didn’t ‘win’ NaNo. That I wasn’t any less of a writer if I didn’t finish. That I could still write this novel because outside of November, that’s what other writer’s do. Shoot, Stephen King didn’t have NaNoWriMo when he was writing ‘Carrie’.

And you know what? All those things are true. But not finishing still didn’t sit well with me. Hubby did some calculations and said I could finish if I wrote about 2250 words a day. That was more than doable, with some sacrifices.

The truth though? I was tired. I wanted to be finished. Right now. I had (and still have) things to do. Food to buy and cook. A home to clean. I wanted to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family and not have to worry about getting my daily word count in.

But I didn’t want to quit. Can’t have it both ways.

So I challenged myself. If I started on Sunday, I could write 5000 words a day for 3 days and just under 3000 for the fourth day. Then I would be able to cook (because Hubby offered to do that last minute shopping and help me clean. Seriously. I love this dude.) and relax.

And I’m doing it. The past two days have been super hectic but I’ve written over 10, 000 words. It’s involved some early mornings and very little down time. But I haven’t quit.

Just two more days and I’m done. *does happy dance*

 

SAD and Writing

I’ve always struggled with depression. Some years are better than others. But when fall/winter rolls around, it gets especially bad.

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. In a nutshell, that means I get really depressed during the colder months. Probably from the lack of sunlight and activity. I also grew up in a tropical climate, so that probably makes it worse.

This year, it got cold a lot quicker than it usual does. Where I now live, the cold snaps usually come after Thanksgiving, but for most of the month, it’s consistently been 40 degrees and below. So, I’ve started feeling the effects of SAD earlier.

I gave birth less than a year ago, and that, combined with nursing and the residual effects of Post Partum Depression, means my hormones are all over the place. When I down, I get really down and its hard to see a way out of the clouds. It’s the perfect storm of depression.

I have a family and a household to look after, so I try whatever I can to keep the depression at bay. It’s hard. Extremely hard. Some days, it’s a literal struggle to get out of bed. And once I get out of bed, it’s a struggle to resist the urge to climb back in.

How does this relate to writing? Well, for one, doing NaNoWriMo is one of the few things keeping me above water. When I get motivated to push past the depression to write, I get motivated to do other things throughout the day.

I’ve wanted to give up so many times. I still do, actually. The First Draft Blues are alive and well over here. Every day, I have to talk myself out it. I tell myself that yes, I do have something powerful to say with this book, and yes, these characters deserve to have their stories told. But really, the reason I keep writing is because I’m scared of what will happen if I stop. It’s hard to push through, but I’m afraid that if I stop, I’ll fall even deeper into depression because, in my mind, I would have failed.

There wasn’t really much point to this post. I just wanted to put that put there. Thanks for listening, loves.

Surprise, Surprise!

Over the past week, I did something I’ve been trying to do for several months now. Without even realizing it.

I’ve started writing every day.

You hear that the best writers write every day. And I know this advice isn’t for every one. But I suspect it works for most of us.

If you’re passionate about something, you make time for it every day.

For the past week, I’ve been writing posts for this blog, finishing my long hand outlines for my NaNoWriMo novel and working on my short story for the Write To Done contest (more on that next time).

I’m not boasting, I’m not trying to sound smug. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of myself.

Because at the end of the day, I stopped think about what I wanted to do, I stopped talking about how cool it would be to do it and I just…did it.

It’s not perfect. It’s definitely writing in the cracks. Right now, I’m writing this post as my middle child keeps whining to get his older brother in trouble. I think I can ignore him long enough to get this post done.

(Oh wait, I have to get up and separate them now…)

But the point is, I accomplished a goal that seemed elusive. There was no ‘Hallelujah’ chorus and adoring angels didn’t come spilling out the sky.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not that deep. And that’s refreshing. Because that means following my dream is not a Herculean task.

I didn’t have to wait until I was getting a good night’s sleep every night, or to feel 110% confident about my talent as a writer, or for Mercury to travel in retrograde while Saturn is ascending.

I just did it. There’s no magic, no secret formula.

If you find yourself constantly talking about what you want to do, or thinking obsessively about it, stop.

And just do it.

Identify the most basic step you need start with, shrug and say ‘Okay’.

Because when you treat it like an ordinary task, there’s no need to orchestrate a big production around it, and you’ll feel less anxious.

And before you know it, you’ll be doing it. You’ll be taking small, but definite steps towards your dream.

Try it, loves. See what happens.

Until next time.

Writing in the Cracks

I came across this post on Writer’s Digest today, and it really got me thinking.

I’m too static in my definition of ‘writing time’. To me, writing time is peace and quiet, preferably when the kids are asleep and everything is silent. I have nothing pressing to do, so I can just sit at my laptop and focus on the words in front of me.

This barely ever happens. Have you ever tried getting three kids to fall asleep at the same time? Over the past several weeks, I truly tried to make the time to write, and I was getting frustrated in the process.

But reading this article today got me to re evaluate a few things.

Yes, I’ll still strive to crave out my time to write each day. But instead of getting stressed when my linear concept of ‘writing time’ goes kaput, I need to be flexible.

I need to write in the cracks of time I have each day.

If I really pay attention, I have more time than I realize. Those five minutes of silence when the baby is happy chewing on his teether and his big brothers are playing quietly for once, I can bust out a few dozen words.

I do get frustrated when I’m in the middle of a real intense flow of words and and I’m getting all amped, and a shrill ‘Moooooooommmyyyyy’ cuts through the air. But beggars can’t be choosers.

And I can find even more time during the day. Those times I spend perusing Blind Gossip (for…research…purposes…*shifty eyes*) can be better spent creating some drama in the pages of my novel.

Writing a novel isn’t the easiest thing to do. But it’s not impossible, even with everything I have going on right now. I’m sure as I go along, I’ll find even more tips and time hacks to share with you guys.

Alright loves, it’s time for me to put the kiddies to bed. Until next time.